War Poems - Poems For War - Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War

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Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War - Poem by Margaret Atwood

He was the sort of man
who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Many flies are now alive
while he is not.
He was not my patron.
He preferred full granaries, I battle.
My roar meant slaughter.
Yet here we are together
in the same museum.
That's not what I see, though, the fitful
crowds of staring children
learning the lesson of multi-
cultural obliteration, sic transit
and so on.

I see the temple where I was born
or built, where I held power.
I see the desert beyond,
where the hot conical tombs, that look
from a distance, frankly, like dunces' hats,
hide my jokes: the dried-out flesh
and bones, the wooden boats
in which the dead sail endlessly
in no direction.

What did you expect from gods
with animal heads?
Though come to think of it
the ones made later, who were fully human
were not such good news either.
Favour me and give me riches,
destroy my enemies.
That seems to be the gist.
Oh yes: And save me from death.
In return we're given blood
and bread, flowers and prayer,
and lip service.

Maybe there's something in all of this
I missed. But if it's selfless
love you're looking for,
you've got the wrong goddess.

I just sit where I'm put, composed
of stone and wishful thinking:
that the deity who kills for pleasure
will also heal,
that in the midst of your nightmare,
the final one, a kind lion
will come with bandages in her mouth
and the soft body of a woman,
and lick you clean of fever,
and pick your soul up gently by the nape of the neck
and caress you into darkness and paradise.


Comments about Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War by Margaret Atwood

  • Rookie Gabrielle A. Macdonald (12/22/2006 11:41:00 PM)

    One of her best. Irony full-tilt at the idea of gods and how they are really composed of human wishes and expectations.The last stanza modulates into an un-atwod kind of tenderness - but this too only reflects the desires of the dying (presumably in war) (Report) Reply

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Poems About War

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  2. 2. World War Ii = Best Of The Rest War Poems , Tom Zart
  3. 3. From A German War Primer , Bertolt Brecht
  4. 4. Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War , Margaret Atwood
  5. 5. Love And War , Ovid
  6. 6. A War Song To Englishmen , William Blake
  7. 7. Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind , Stephen Crane
  8. 8. War Some More , Sandra Osborne
  9. 9. A Prayer In Time Of War , Alfred Noyes
  10. 10. Meditations In Time Of Civil War , William Butler Yeats
  11. 11. Repression Of War Experience , Siegfried Sassoon
  12. 12. War Of The Worlds , john tiong chunghoo
  13. 13. Memorial Day For The War Dead , Yehuda Amichai
  14. 14. There Was Crimson Clash Of War. , Stephen Crane
  15. 15. On Receiving News Of The War , Isaac Rosenberg
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  17. 17. Two Poems From The War , Archibald MacLeish
  18. 18. Spring In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  19. 19. The Next War , Robert Graves
  20. 20. War Profit Litany , Allen Ginsberg
  21. 21. A Meditation In Time Of War , William Butler Yeats
  22. 22. War Is Never Over , Cecil L. Harrison
  23. 23. On Being Asked For A War Poem , William Butler Yeats
  24. 24. War Song , Thomas Moore
  25. 25. Tell Brave Deeds Of War , Stephen Crane
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  32. 32. War-Music , Henry Van Dyke
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  37. 37. To The Man-Of-War-Bird , Walt Whitman
  38. 38. In California During The Gulf War , Denise Levertov
  39. 39. Sonnet 46: Mine Eye And Heart Are At A M.. , William Shakespeare
  40. 40. Lessons Of The War , Henry Reed
  41. 41. To Lucasta On Going To The War - For The.. , Robert Graves
  42. 42. 0108 Two Poems About War , Michael Shepherd
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  46. 46. Sonnet: Kargil War-Song , Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar ..
  47. 47. Bob Dylan Wrote Masters Of War , Uriah Hamilton
  48. 48. Civil War , Stanley Cooper
  49. 49. A War , Sylvia Chidi
  50. 50. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
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